Leaney out to break seniors title drought

Stephen Leaney is vying for a maiden US Seniors Tour having taken the 36-hole lead at the event in Naples, Florida.

16-Feb-2020 By Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press
  • Gol_Champions_16-9_18154189_1995333_20200216120281d7ccf30-7960-40dd-94b3-d8353172f9dc.jpg_sd_1280x720.jpg

Stephen Leaney is aiming to become the first Australian winner on the US Champions Tour in almost two decades when he takes a one-shot lead into the final round of the Chubb Classic in Florida.

Before he can achieve that breakthrough, Leaney faces a final-group duel with the most successful player in history of the age 50-plus tour, Bernhard Langer, on Sunday.

Leaney's opening pair of six-under 65s gave him a 12-under total at the Lely Resort in Naples, putting him one stroke clear of two-time Masters champion Langer.

The 62-year-old Langer has 40 victories on the Champions Tour, including 11 senior majors. Fellow golfing great Fred Couples is one of three players a shot further back.

None of that worries well-travelled 50-year-old Leaney as he attempts to become the first Australian to win on the tour since Rodger Davis claimed the 2003 Toshiba Seniors Classic.

"Well, I mean, I have won over 16, 17 times in the world," Leaney said. "I mean, I have won tournaments before. No problem in this position.

"So it's all about controlling yourself. I can't control what anyone else does, regardless of who's behind me I know that someone is going to go out and shoot a low score, so you can't just hold on to what you've got.

"I have got to try and stay patient and go at the flags I can go at. And if it falls my way, so be it."

Leaney won four times on the European Tour and his most recent professional victory was the 2017 Western Australian Open.

He earned fully exempt status on the Champions Tour by finishing tied fourth at qualifying school in December.

Now he is trying for a second triumph over Langer, having beaten him by four shots at the the 2000 Dutch Open on the European Tour.

Leaney's only start in a Sunday final group on the US PGA Tour was at the 2003 US Open, when he started three shots behind eventual champion Jim Furyk and finsihed second.

Fellow 50-year-old Rod Pampling is next-best of the Australians at six under, while countryman David McKenzie is near bottom of the leaderboard.


Add a comment

Title Notify Website Updates

Subscribe to receive updates and new posts via email